Sunday, January 13, 2008

Holiday Movie Roundup

Caring for a baby doesn't allow much time to see movies, but I saw a few over the holidays. The titles are listed in the order in which I saw the films.

Dan in Real Life was the first (and, to date, only) movie my wife and I saw in a movie theater since the birth of our daughter. Because the novelty of an evening out away from the baby loomed so large, it's difficult for me to assess if the movie was really any good or not. I can say I enjoyed Steve Carell's performance and the easy digestion of the movie. I was also happy to see Juliette Binoche again, and may finally forgive her (and all involved) for The English Patient.

Bukowski: Born Into This is a documentary about Charles Bukowski, a troubled but gifted Beat poet and novelist who, since his death in 1994, has become increasingly popular and interesting to modern readers.

I had heard of and read some Bukowski prior to seeing the film, but I was mostly ignorant about the author's life and work. The documentary included lots of footage and interviews that helped give me a sense of the open wounds and impulses that drove Bukowski's art. Fascinating, but not for the faint of heart.

Sicko is Michael Moore at his best, at last reducing his confrontational journalism and just telling true stories about sick people locked out of the American health care system. That Sicko demonstrates that the American health care system is broken is no great feat -- everyone in this country knows that and we'll no doubt hear all about it from every political nominee vying for the presidency this year. But what really stood out for me was how the film called into question the dissolution of benevolence, compassion, and charity in American society.

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